When Blossom was pregnant with Cully May she discovered something we mothers all find to be true as our bellies expand with new life - that cooking in the kitchen is messy work and you cannot help but get food stains across your rounded baby bump.
So I loaned her an apron. Which has not been returned. Nor do I believe it will be. Nor do I want it back.
My girl loves having 'bits of mum' in her home and when I saw my apron hanging in her kitchen the other day a warm and fuzzy glow spread through my heart so then and there I surrendered any desire to take it back.
When it was time to leave we hugged each other at the door, and I silently blessed her with a prayer that she may know the joy of homemaking beyond even that which I have enjoyed these many decades.
On returning home it seemed sensible to plan a new apron for myself, because, like pincushions, one can never have too many. In fact, I think now that it's probably a good idea to always have some spare pincushions and aprons on hand to give away should the need arise.
As I'm just shy of 5 foot 1 inch tall a yard of fabric is enough for an apron, and my basic template was cut from an apron Fee made me about five years ago.
I decided to add a pocket to the front with a feature stitchery (one from my Stitchery Club last year)...
I bordered the stitchery, backed it, turned it right side out, sewed a scant 1/8 inch seam around the stitchery and that became the pocket.
The pocket was then sewn to the front of my apron.
I double hemmed all around the apron itself before making a halter neck which was rounded on both ends and secured to the apron with large vintage buttons.
Two long ties were made from 4" wide fabric lengths, doubled over and sewn into a 45 degree angle at one end. I pulled this right side out and secured the raw end by doubling it over and sewing to the side edge of my apron.
It's a very cheery apron, made from fabric I bought a couple of years ago. In fact I used a little of it sewing Blossom a cosy for her French press (back here) and have been waiting on an idea for using up the rest. It's nice when you can finally give life to fabric that's been patiently waiting for it's time to shine!
I think a nice twirl in the kitchen this weekend is the perfect christening for my new apron.
I was thinking of baking a simple sponge cake. Our favourite sponge cake actually. The recipe that never fails.
The cook book I take my sponge recipe from is pretty old, rather tattered, and very loved.
Last year I gave a pile of cookbooks to Blossom when I was thinning the bookshelves in our home and this one was placed in the box. At the time I ummed and aahed all day before finally deciding to 'pass it on'.
Every time I went to her place after that I'd longingly look at this book on her new bookcase, her own shelf of cookbooks having grown with the inclusion of my gifts, and wonder what possessed me to give it up when I wasn't yet finished with it?
Over time my phone became a pseudo file of this book as I'd drive over to her place and take photos of recipes I needed until one day I simply asked if I could have it back. She laughed and handed it to me. It wasn't until the book was gone that I realised how many of the meals, desserts and treats our family regularly enjoyed had found their origins within its pages.
When my time on earth comes to an end, or I find I can no longer cook, Blossom can reclaim my favourite cookbook - but for now she can borrow it any time she likes or create a recipe file from it on her phone - I'm just rather chuffed to have my old friend back within arms reach again.
In fact, if I had to choose just one cookbook to keep and give away all the others, this would be the one.
Do you have one cookbook you'd keep above all others?
Please tell us what it is in the comments below.
Mine is The Family Circle Recipe Encyclopedia
ISBN - 086411401 X
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I could not live without my grandmother's original Betty Crocker Cookbook. I use it for some things but it's sentimental value is priceless!
Oh Jenny I would have to keep three...but I published all three.
1st: Stout Family Cookbook
2nd: Ladies of the Lake Quilters
3rd: Ladies of the Lake Volume 2
It warms my heart to see the recipes from so many who have passed on.
When we were first married, I realized I needed a cookbook that went with my newly plowed yard garden. On a whim I picked out "Great Aunt Jane's Cook and Garden Book". My family has loved the fresh vegetable and fruit recipes that I still use! Sentimental value is awesome, but so is the realization that it's still a staple in my kitchen.
Beautiful apron. LOL I am only about 4 feet 10 inches and would need very little fabric. I don't really use aprons, silly but true. The only recipe book I use is " The Gluten Free Almond Flour Cookbook" when I feel like making a cake ( which is quite rare). How wonderful to know that dear Blossom loves her mum's creations, food wise and sewing wise. Angel hugs to Blossom, Cully May and your beautiful self.
Hi Jenny, thank you, a lovely post and your tutorials are very informative so thank you for all you share with us. But that beautiful apron matches Blossom's coffee press cover doesn't it,mmm just a thought ha ha. Great ideas for presents very handy now. My favourite cookbook well I have a few new ones very healthy gluten free and lots of great recipes with lots of helpful information, like I was not aware how healthy turnips are, my late Dad used to grow most of our veges and I remember disliking turnips, parsnips etc, but love them now, (we had to eat regardless of likes).The books also provide me with ideas how to modify old favourites. I still have my high school recipe book too (very sad condition) which is still in print written by a Miss Irvine but not sure if it is still used in schools, this was in Tasmania so is a Tasmanian book and very useful and I also have an old CWA cookbook I hang onto with lots of old favourites, (gosh you are taking me down memory lane, Friday baking day for Mum and Nana, I wonder now how we got away with eating all those yummy baked goods, puddings most nights as well as biscuits and cakes, scones every Sunday after baked lunch with pudding). It is easy to alter recipes to cater for various allergy/food tolerance issues too so often the recipe just gives the idea and I tend to reduce the amount of sugar greatly and use Stevia or maple syrup if baking for grandchildren and daughter as sugar a problem for them along with gluten and dairy so can be tricky, oh I have found using a little coconut flour makes all the difference to GF. All the best to you and family, Judithann :-)x
What a lovely, lovely post. I have several cookbooks given to me by mysweet mother. She absolutely loved to cook and bake. She gave me a Betty Crocker cookbook when I was married (1978)....I still use it.
!!!! Como puede ser tan hermoso lo que sale de tus manos ¡¡¡¡
lovely post, gorgeous apron too
mmm, have never got myself a favourite cookbook not that i did much baking, we just ate more fresh foods as my kids were growing up.
i don't think 2005 was 21 years ago? at least i'm hoping it wasn't, am sure my maths isn't that far out..........?
thanx for sharing
I would never part with Delia Smith's 'Complete Cookery Course' My current copy is from 1994 although it was written in 78. Dog eared, splattered and generally tatty, it is my go to book and I can usually find everything I want there despite a huge bookshelf full of cookery books (I can't resist!). Pretty apron Jenny. xx
I do have one cookbook that is my go to cookbook. It is a very old version of the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook that comes in a binder. The recipes are all from scratch versions instead of some being made with mixes like the newer editions. I have used it so much that many of the pages are not in good shape. I even found a copy of it in my local bookshop that sells used books and gave it to my daughter. When my mom passed away I ended up with hers which is the same as mine so I can replace some of my tattered pages with ones from hers. If I could only have one cookbook this would be the one I would choose.
Lovely post, Jenny! I love aprons, I have several in different fabrics for each season and holidays. I was wondering, have you ever posted a tutorial on converting the straps on an apron from around the neck to criss-crossed over the shoulders and on the back? I have neck issues and I find that I can't wear an apron around the neck for very long without neck pain. I have looked online but have found nothing to help me. I'm not a very good seamstress (more of a mender, having raised 3 boys and 3 girls) but I can follow clear instructions!
Thanks so much for your blog! I just recently found it and it is a treasure of beauty.
Lori in TX
I am 1/2 an inch taller than you. Lol. Love your apron. I only have one apron and half the time I don't use it. What a cute story about your cookbook. I can't say that I have a favorite cookbook probably because I have so many of them.
Love your apron. I thought I recognized that fabric. =) Yes, actually, though I'm not much of a cook, I do have a favorite. I've gone through three copies in my life. It's the Betty Crocker cookbook. It's always been my go-to, no matter what else was on the shelf. Now, there are only a couple of others shoved in with it, one for using food storage ingredients in an emergency. I use a lot of them for every day ... when I'm in the mood to cook. Not often these days! It's still Betty Crocker I go to when I've forgotten a time or temperature or ingredient.
I would probably keep my Betty Crocker cookbook that I received as a wedding or shower gift 56 years ago! Nancy
I have the Betty Crocker cookbook given to me just before getting married, soon to be 45 years ago. Even though it isn't used as often as it was at first and the binding is coming apart, I'd never part with it. It is perfect how your stitchery goes so well with the apron fabric - just an adorable project! - Diane from Minnesota
Your apron turned out very lovely. I adore how you used your Stitchery on he pocket. I am not good about wearing an apron even though I do have quie a few. And...I am even worse about using any of my many cookbooks. Somehow I thought if I bought a cookbook it would automatically prepare he meals for us. Time spent in the kitchen is not my favorite, even though I have a truly amazing kitchen I love. If I could only have one cookbook it would have to be "The Joy of Cooking". My older (and wiser) sister (married) gave it to me for my wedding present way back in 1967. She knew I couldn't cook and feed my new husband. I "broiled" chocolate chip cookies one day at her house before I got married. I treasure my sister and my "Joy of Cooking" cookbook. No, I still can't cook decent meals and I am married to a different husband who loves to eat. DRAT!!!
I love the fabric you used for the apron. Round here the best and most famous is the Edmonds Cook book.
Jenny!!!! Que bella esa tela! Me enamoré! Bello el delantal
Thank you so much for this lovely post, Jenny.
Thank you for inviting us to your beautiful corner of fabric and iron.
It's like accompanying a friend while she sews an apron and we talk about life.
Thank you very much. Have a good day. Hugs.
I would keep my a homemade cookbook of holiday treats my parents made. It has my Dad's caramel corn recipe and my Mom's white divinity fudge recipes in it that I have never written down anywhere else. They typed it up and Dad added hand drawings, then they printed it off on a copy machine, and used poultry leg bands for 3-ring binders. They gave me and my siblings all a copy for Christmas one year.
My mom had a Betty Crocker Cookie Cookbook I absolutely adored growing up. The stains and bits of butter and sugar are there to confirm it.
When mom developed Alzheimers and cleaned out her belongings to move to a safe home, that cookbook was put in a give away pile. I snatched it up!! I still make cookies from it and it holds a place of honor in my kitchen.
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